zine, [zeen] noun. 1. abbr. of fanzine; 2. any amateurly-published periodical. Oxford Reference


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Meanest Greenest Frog

By Eric Baker

While I've categorized this as a comic (and it is one), I think it can be better described as an illustrated "children's book". Baker has taken certain aspects of comics (speech balloons) and added them to a single large picture on each page.

The story concerns a young boy's quest to find the titular frog somewhere in a forest. Baker has chosen to present the narrative text and the characters' speech in rhyme. Combined with the somewhat repetitive nature of the text this means that the story seems as though it should be read out to someone else (while of course showing them the pictures at the same time).

The art is all pretty good, and I enjoyed Baker's depiction of various frogs and other animals. He's also put a lot of work into the general appearance of this book, with end papers, page numbers, and a "This book belongs to" page. It's all very professional and nice to look at, though I did think that the colouring could have been a bit brighter.

It's pretty clear that I'm not the target audience for this, but I can see kids enjoying either reading it or having it read to them. Let's hope that this is what's happened with other copies of this story.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Robots and Electronic Brains number 14

Edited by jimmy possession

This music zine is packed full of reviews, interviews, and articles about music and bands. Unlike most zines of this type it doesn't focus on one particular genre and the content can go from discussing Welsh language hip hop to the bands influenced by '60s French pop music.

Writing about music can be a pretty difficult thing to do, and I think even the best writers are writing it for people that read music writing. Thus, as someone who doesn't know that much about music I often felt a bit lost when reading some of the content here, which perhaps can be said to be aimed at the sort of people who spend their weekends searching through crates of records at garage sales in the hopes of finding that one amazing seven-inch.

However, some of the interviews were pretty good, and it came with a compilation CD with loads of different music on it (everything from hip hop to indie to weird cut up spoken word bits featuring Vincent Price), and it's worth it just to get hold of that.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Echo Echo 8

By Kagey

Reviewing perzines is hard sometimes because they are so personal. When someone is spilling out their mind and their soul onto the page it's difficult to criticize their layout or their writing style. It's even harder when the person writing the zine is a friend of yours. You can find out more about what they think and how they feel by reading a zine they made for dozens of strangers than you ever did by talking to them.

Saying all that I did enjoy this zine. I felt a connection to Kagey and her fears and anxieties. The physical and metal actions she describes rang true with me, and I thought about putting on masks and pretending to be someone you're not, drinking in art galleries, and awkward conversations. "One thing you hate about being drunk is that, while you forget your shyness, you're still as awkward as ever, so you cringe harder in retrospect." (And even if you're not actually that awkward, your mind still concentrates on the small details and ignores the larger picture.)

I didn't dig everything in here (the poetry didn't register, as usual), and I wish that Kagey included more of her drawings as I like those, but I enjoyed the writing style that Kagey used; it was filled with loss and loneliness and little truths.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Out of the City and Into the Trees Issue #2: The Battle of Dalkeith Country Park


I think the environment is awesome! I think that (sub)urban sprawl is terrible! I think that there are many things our society does that could be done better and without hurting the earth and the people that live there. We could focus less on cars and more on bicycles and alternative forms of transportation, focus on using what we have instead of buying new things, and focus more on people instead of profit.

I think that these things are important and that we have to fight for these things if and when it comes to that. And so I have some amount of respect for people that go and lock themselves into trees and and other places to prevent nature being destroyed.

However I am frequently left very confused by some of the people who are incredibly moved by the beauty and importance of nature, are involved in movements like this, and express dislike of modern society and a desire to go back to something more "primitive".

(Now please note, this isn't all necessarily aimed at this zine and its creators specifically, some of these complaints are more general.)

So how is flying a large group of protesters/activists to Iceland good for the environment? Perhaps if you spent the time, effort, and money trying to educate people wherever you are and creating a community that cares about where they live you will have more effect than going to another country and chanting.

And how can you justify owning cars and iPads and things like that when you express your rejection of modern society and technology? I love society and civilization and technology and would be incredibly sad if I had to live a hunter gatherer/farming existence due to the lack of opportunities to learn and the lack of art to see. And yet I don't have a car, I don't have an iPad, and somehow manage to get by fine on a technology I've found or been given. I guess I choose a "consume less" lifestyle, but find certain eco-primitivists to be pretty hypocritical. (Of course other people probably find me hypocritical too.)

This zine has some interesting stuff, but at the same time I find the writer's viewpoint to be somewhat naive. If you're really into this sort of stuff and are interested in reading more about it, I'll recommend that you check out the highly enjoyable Holidarity, a minicomic about environmental protest camps in the UK.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Panel 13

Behind the neat cover (both sides open like doors) lies a a comics anthology put together by a group of creators in Ohio. They function like a writing group, getting together every few weeks to show each other what they're working on and to give constructive criticism. Twice a year they put out an anthology, and this is the 13th. Impressive!

This anthology is based around the theme of superstition and bad luck, and, like all anthologies, the contents are up and down with some comics just leaving me confused as to why they were even created. (Though I suppose that could just because because I don't really see the appeal of baseball.)

The two comics I liked the most were one by Craig Bogart that told of the unfortunate ends of the various contributors to this "unlucky" book. Each person is given a panel and their fates are revealed as everything from being forced to see the world like Thomas Kinkade to being burnt alive. No fun!

The other piece I liked was by Molly Durst and Brent Bowman and was a sort of pre-World War II adventure piece that recalled stories like The Shadow. It features a mansion, fencing, chemistry labs burning down, and the Spider King! How can you not love a giant centaur like spider goblin? I wish this comic was longer so that we could have seen more of him.

And so, once again, Matthew's love of monsters triumphed over all.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Every Reason #4

Edited by Keith

You know, the only way to get better at writing (or anything) is to do it every day. Do it all the time and you will improve. I've really been slacking on that front, but I feel like I've turned a corner and am doing zine stuff again (I've already posted more reviews than last month!).

Thus the importance of zines like this, which provide amateur writers with somewhere that they can submit their work to. I'm pretty much stealing this idea from the introduction where the editor says that he sees the zine as social work and wants it to promote writing and give more people the opportunity to read work (and to have writers have their work read). And yeah, what's the point of making a zine if nobody's going to read it?

Mostly though, the content of this zine didn't really leave much of an impact on me. There's a bunch of poems, which generally go in one ear and out the other when I read them. I did like the first one, though mostly because after a mention of Bukowski in the introduction I heard it like this piece in my mind.

Other than that I didn't really dig anything in this anthology. I feel as though I can't even critique the writing quality as the styles and story content aren't things that really interest me. The characters in the fiction pieces act in ways that I don't really understand, and clearly have different goals and thoughts than I do. So yeah, this is pretty much a non-review as I think all I can say is "not my thing".

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chloe Noonan Monster Hunter #2

By Marc Ellerby

Sometimes the comics industry makes me sad. Not because it's mostly based around superheros. Not because it's not the most sexually or racially enlightened of places. Not because they are ignored by so many people.* But because there is really good work put out by amazing artists that seems to be almost completely unknown.

Case in point being Chloe Noonan by Marc Ellerby. This is an incredibly well drawn, well written, and funny comic with characters I like reading about, yet Ellerby is self publishing it with no major distribution. Now sure, maybe he wants to self publish it, but after reading about some of the problems he had getting issue 3 printed I wish that all of that was being taken care of by someone else and he could just draw more comics.

Still, apparently he is currently pitching it to various people. So hopefully we'll have a full book before too long. I certainly can't wait to read more comics about this not very good monster hunter, and her adventures with bands and clothes stealing friends. Until then I'm just going to have to go and read all of his webcomics.

* Okay, yes, all of those things make me sad too.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Peach Melba #21

By Pearl
PO Box 74

Peach Melba is a zine made by a 14 year old girl, and she's been doing it monthly for almost two years! I can't even seem to update this site that much sometimes.

Each ingeniously folded issue is filled with lists of whatever has caught Pearl's fancy recently. Thus this issue has lists about pirates, spies, clothes (though I think that skirts and dresses aren't always impractical, and sometimes they are made for men!), food, and Doctor Who (everyone loves Doctor Who right?).

This final item made me think about my own memories of Doctor Who. When I lived in the "old country" (a long time ago), I used to watch Doctor Who on TV, and I was terrified of the Daleks. I remember a girl running around with a baseball bat, and hiding behind the couch. Ah, memories. Now all I want to do is watch the old episodes of Doctor Who with the Liquorice Allsorts robot.

Um, anyway: Peach Melba is super rad, and this issue features a reprint of instructions on what to do if arrested at a protest in the UK. Super useful! (Especially of late.)

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hope for the Future 7

By Simon Perrins and Andrew Livesey

Reading this comic now is a little bit frustrating, as I saw the guys at various events in the UK, but never picked up their comics. I even read the first issue online, but didn't read any more. Why is this a problem? Because I really enjoyed this issue and want to read more, but am in the wrong country. I will just have to read all their comics online (well, at least it saves me some money).

One thing that's pretty neat is that about this comic is, despite the fact that it's issue seven and features a full page of small text recap, it's enjoyable without any prior knowledge of the characters other than "they're university students who keep getting into supernatural trouble". In this case they're traveling back in time to the far off and distant lands of the mid-90s. How horrible!

They're on the trail of a painting with some mysterious connection to something. We don't really know what it is, but the story's well written enough that it seems as though there will be a decent pay off at some point (though not necessarily in this issue).

The art by Andrew Livesey plays a large part in my enjoyment of the story. It reminds me of Andi Watson and maybe a bit of Steve Rolston. The characters are angular, pointy, and a bit blocky, but they're generally attractive, individualized, and the overall art features some nice toning. It really looks nothing like the cover at all! (Which is a good thing, as the cover didn't really grab me, partially because I didn't really like the movie it's based on...)

Also: there are monsters!

But ignoring my obsession with monsters (and ghosts), this is a supernatural adventure comedy that's well written and fun. I wish I'd started reading it sooner.

(Maybe not really representative of the general art, but a pretty rad page nonetheless. click to see it bigger.)

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Secret Spots Halifax anti tourism tour

I was super pumped when I found this zine in the Anchor Archive Zine Library. Things to do in Halifax! I've just moved here and don't know where there is anything to do. Plus: maps! I love maps! Sadly, this zine is something of a disappointment.

While it's totally cool that all the information in here is bilingual, it does mean that there's less space for locations to be included, but that's not a big deal. The actual list is a bit disappointing too, though it's not really aimed at me. There's a number of islands and lakes and stuff included, which aren't really things I have any interest in going to see, though I can understand other people finding them interesting, and there _is_ some stuff I thought sounded cool.

However, the real problem with this zine is the map. It's just photocopied from another source with numbers placed on top. It is not designed for the page, and is so dark I can't find where anything noted actually is located. Since the text refrained from including any addresses this becomes an "anti tourism" guide in that it tells you about places you cannot visit, you can only imagine them in your mind. Which, in some cases, might actually be an improvement. I mean, how cool can that lost overpass be?

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Automatons in Love

By Jesse Durona, CJ Joughin, Kevin Uehlein, and Carl Mefferd

Robots! Robots! Robots! I love robots so much. And this zine is beautifully put together, with a silver cut out cover, pages printed on clear plastic, and occasional spot colour. It all looks really nice!

The four stories in here are pretty varied, and while all of them feature robots, not all of them really fulfill the title criteria. I was a little disappointed by this, as I've recently been reading Pluto by Naoki Urasawa. It's a fantastic comic about what it means to be a robot and a human, artificial intelligence, and how the two groups would interact with each other as robots get steadily more advanced. I've just read the first six books and I'm (im)patiently waiting for volume seven to come in at the library so I can finish reading the series.

So back to this comic! The first story, by Durona, appears to be from their webcomic that no longer exists. It's a cute little story about a robot who befriends some monkeys. Rad! I like the way the various apes are drawn, though I don't enjoy the human's designs as much.

Joughin's comic is an interesting one about consumerism and wants vs needs. However, while I liked the idea behind the comic, the actual story didn't really grab me. The pencil only (I think) art didn't reproduce that well either, so maybe Joughin should work on either their inking or digital manipulation skills to ensure better reproduction next time.

Uehlein's comic was my favourite out of all of them. The art is reminiscent of old funny animal cartoons (in no small part because most of the characters are animals in fancy clothes), and the plot of a robot performing cello in an orchestra seems like something that would fit right into an animated short. The comic is almost entirely silent, and one of my few wishes is that Uehlein had made the entire comic without anybody speaking. Still, it's pretty awesome in general.

The final comic, by Mefferd, features some really good robot designs. However the story doesn't really grab me for some reason. Maybe it's the pages of build up for what turns out to be a fairly old joke.

Overall though, this is a well put together anthology that features a variety of different styles. It's worth checking out even if you're not a huge robot fan (or a fan of huge robots).

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Khyber Komix Jam #4

Comics Jams are when a bunch of people get together, hang out, drink (or not), talk, and draw comics. They're a pretty neat way to meet other people into comics, and they allow people to draw really bizarre stuff.

Generally what happens is that each person draws a panel of a comic, and then passes it off to the next person who continues the story. It's sort of like an exquisite corpse thing.

While I think they are great for the people who are at them (meet new people! practice drawing!), I think that reading them afterward is a less satisfying experience. The comics may feature some nice art, but the stories are just insane mashes of ideas that don't lead anywhere, sentient hamburgers giving oral sex to girls, or comics that remind me of this song. What? I mean....

So yeah! At the very least, I hope these sort of publications inspire people to create their own comic jams. More comics is more better!

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Eyeball Suck #4

By Andrew Lips and Tom Evans

While the cover of this comic may make you think that it will be filled with nonstop zombie action, it's actually mostly Lips' autobiographical comics. The comics cover losing teeth, random thoughts (such as zombie attacks), being single (I didn't have a girlfriend until I was 21, it's okay!), and writing letters to Stephen Fry.

There's also a comic drawn by Tom Evans about a fetishy relationship between Batman and Robin, which is a trope that gets brought out by many different people, but isn't one I really understand.

Lips' art isn't that great, though it generally manages to get the stories across. I would like it if he drew more backgrounds though, as people standing in blank white voids is kind of weird. Evans' art uses a lot of lines, and I'm not sure how well it reproduces in photocopies, but it's fairly good overall.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sunday of Apples and Blood Oranges

By Beth Hetland

While I'm sure it took a lot of work, the nature of the cover (with the apples and oranges being cut out and stuck onto a white background) made me think that this would be a really boring slice of life style comic.

And the first page and a half inside didn't really disprove me of this thought, but then oh my gods there's a talking snowman and a robot shows up later on in this comic and now I really like it. I mean, if there wasn't a robot here I wouldn't care about this girl's shopping trip, but there is a robot and he has a pet cat and complains that humans can't deal with robot emotions, and I really like robots and don't judge me.

It's not like the robot is just there acting like a human, it's clearly part of society, has it's own feelings and goals in life, and plays a roll in the story. It's the contrast between the normal (going to the grocery store, waiting for a bus) and the abnormal (a robot cashier, fruit yelling at you, a melting snowman trying to bum money) that creates humour in these situations.

Hetland's art is probably what you would expect from indie autobio comics, so it's extra surprising when totally bizarre things happen in the comic. I like the contrast, but I feel as though I'm explaining myself poorly. I had a couple of drinks earlier, and my room is really hot even though my window is open. This is what happens when I try to review something every day. This is a good comic though, I read it when I was sober.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Deadtime Stories

By Emix Regulus and Frater Alarph

This is a collection of short comics and prose pieces by two authors. They frequently have a strange sort of metaphysical bent to them. One of the comics is about cosmic rays from another universe penetrating human minds and causing mutations, so that space aliens can eat us. We are, of course, saved by post-mammalian super genius creatures who seem to communicate entirely in math.

Another comic features a narrator telling about their experiences after waking up as a grain of rice, while the last features some sort of weird thing about shared consciousness or something. While these all could have been interesting, in a Kafkaesque or Gogolian way, none of them really achieve this, in part due to confusing page layouts, and narratives that seem to be more about expressing ideas than telling stories.

The first of the two text pieces is a strange story about attending a psychic phenomena class and encountering a possible spirit (ie. ghost). The story is sort of interesting, though, as I'm not sure if it's supposed to be fictional or based on a real event, it's kind of hard to see what the author was trying to achieve.

The final text piece is the most interesting, though also the most simple. There are two word clouds, one created by each author, using dream journals that they kept over several months. Dreams are pretty cool things, and the best (like the ones I had last night about exploring underground lairs and fighting super-villians) are really awesome. It's interesting to see which terms recur in the people's dreams and wonder if they have any meaning. Why does one person dream about mothers and the police? Why does the other dream about houses and holidays? More than likely no reason at all.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Some of my Best Friends R Strangers

Ooooh, a sealed white envelope. How mysterious! (I love mysteries!) What's inside? Two minicomics!

It's Cold, Up North, This year. / New Year

By Mike

Both of these are diary comics by Mike. Or rather, they are pages from his diary which happen to be in comic form. Is there a difference? I don't really know.

The comics in "It's Cold, Up North" are rather sad and deal with it being cold and dark, Mike feeling uninspired and not knowing what he's doing with his life, and breaking up with his girlfriend of ten years. They're not the happiest of comics, but reading about stuff like this kind of makes me feel better about my life, in that it means I'm not alone in my thoughts and feelings. This isn't to say that there are no moments of humour or joy. At one point Mike states "My travelling companion today is a sousaphone." a line that, in its seemingly normal take on a (to me) absurd situation, brings a smile to my face.

"New Year" is comics from the first few weeks of January and continues the tales of depression, cold, and darkness. Somehow these ones seem more optimistic than "It's Cold", and it could be that with the new year Mike has attempted to concentrate more on the positive things in his life instead of dwelling on the negative. That's something I should really take to heart as well.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Sunday, January 15, 2012


By Laura N-Tamara

The way this minicomic starts I was almost sure it was going to turn into porn. The library is closing, the (sexy) librarian is kicking everyone out, one person hasn't left yet, the librarian starts to take off her clothes and...


And then we start getting bizarre Inception/meta-textual references as the story changes to almost self-referential illustrated text.

The story (and the stories within stories) reminded me somewhat of Jorge Luis Borges and Italo Calvino, both authors who liked to play with telling stories using non-linear styles, and narratives within narratives. I like some of the stuff they've produced a lot. Oh! And Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, it's a really good book that features nested stories.

Getting back to this comic, the art is very clearly influenced by manga (to the extent that several of the books have the covers on what we would consider the back). Some of the weirdness that shows up in here reminded me a bit of Shintaro Kago and other artists that I've seen on the Same Hat blog. The interior art is generally pretty good, and way better than the cover would have you think. (I'll try to scan some tomorrow! See below.) There are a lack of backgrounds, and I think the artist needs to work on their page layouts a bit, but I enjoyed the weirdness and the art and wouldn't mind reading more of their work in the future.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lucid Frenzy Digest 2011

By Gavin Burrows

It's almost...ironic that I reviewed a zine about about mental health issues and then almost immediately didn't update for two days because of my own problems. Haha. Hilarious! (No wait, it's not.)

Um, so, this is a collection of pieces that Burrows has run on his blog, and despite liking what I read in the last issue of this zine, I've never actually gone to his blog to read anything. This is probably because Burrows' pieces are quite long and in-depth and take a while to digest and process. Thus I find it easier/better to read these things in paper form when I'm not being distracted by someone talking to me in another window or funny pictures of cats or something.

In this issue Burrows talks about zines, and reviews concerts, movies, and art shows. I enjoy Burrows' general writing style, which is most evidenced by the fact that I read all of his pieces about music I had almost no familiarity with. Music articles/interviews are probably the bits of zines I skip over with the most frequency, as I find that they generally require you to have knowledge of the artist to really get anything out of them. Here, however, Burrows has managed to weave information about the band/music, history of the genres, and descriptions of the bands that are considerably more informative than "band x meets artist y". So yeah, I enjoyed reading them even if I don't want to seek out what the bands actually sound like. That's what music writing should be like!

Though I must admit that the repeated references to Francis Bacon kind of flew over my head. I guess I should read more about him at some point.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Treasure Hunt issue two


I think the strange collaged cover featuring multiple drawings, photos, text and other elements is possibly the best part of this group zine.

The contents are as random as the cover, and include pieces of art, poetry, a few bars of musical notation, photographs, an incredibly long and dull (to me) interview with a musician (that I just couldn't get into because it was about someone I'd never heard of, and didn't seem to discuss why I should care about him), a recipe, found art, and a prose piece about a breakup that was pretty good and written in an interesting style.

The zine was supposed to be a showcase of ephemera, and to that extent it succeeded. However there really wasn't anything in here that stuck in my mind. I looked at the cover of this zine before writing this, and couldn't remember a single thing featured inside. I'm not in the best of mental states right now, and I do like zines that collect random things and found objects, but this issue didn't do much for me.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pathologize This! A Mental Health Zine


Mental health is an important issue, and one that is frequently ignored by many people and most media. Zines are one area where there are people telling their stories about mental health issues. This allows people to learn that they are not alone, discover how other people live with their mental health issues, and heal through writing about their own lives.

However, it can be hard to read this sort of thing, and even write about it. This zine is filled with brief, anonymous accounts of different mental health issues. Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, physical problems, dealing with rape and sexual assault, and other things are written about in stories, poems, interviews, and essays. They are not all easy reading, and some of them kind of upset me.

It also made writing this review kind of hard, as I didn't know what to mention and what not to mention. However, if you are interested in this area, you might enjoy this zine.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Shabba's Crappy D Stories Part: 1

By Saban Kazim

I have, thankfully, never worked in fast food. However, as I am currently not working anywhere I suppose those working in fast food have one up on me in that they have a paycheck and know where next month's rent is coming from.

The two brief stories in here are good at showing how terrible these sort of jobs are, and how to find humour in them. The horrible customers, the worker/manager relationship (where all the power seems to be with one, but occasionally the other can get the upper hand), the nonsensical rules, the horrible tasks, the trying to do as little as possible. It's kind of impressive that all of that is portrayed in just a few brief pages, but I guess so much of those things are part of popular culture nowadays that it just has to reference them and I understand them far more in depth.

There aren't many backgrounds and Kazim reuses panels and character art, but you don't really notice that on your first read through. I like the character designs of his boss and the customer, both of which remind me of muppets (is it the eyebrows? I think it must be). Kazim's art style isn't the most polished, but it manages to tell the stories that he's set out to tell, and I was a little disappointed that this was so short, as I wouldn't have minded reading some more tales of fastfood life.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Before the Law

By A. Moore

My knowledge of Kafka is pretty limited. I've seen The Trial (I think), and I read a graphic novel adaptation of the Metamorphosis (actually, more than one if I think about it), but I don't think I've ever read any of his actual work, or even read much about it.

And so I look at this short adaptation of one of his stories and I think it is something I would appreciate far more if I was more familiar with the source material. It does seem "Kafkaesque" (though perhaps I only use this term because I know it's based on a work by Kafka), is printed nicely on cardstock, and is laid out in an interesting manner, but...

I don't know, is the point of Kafka that life sucks and doesn't make any sense? If that is the case I don't really want to read any more of it. If it isn't the case I'm pretty clearly not getting something.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Man's Zine: 6 Types of Women to Avoid

By Sarah Cai

So I'm discovering that living somewhere where there are things to do means that I do lots of things, and thus have less time to goof off on the internet and write these reviews. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop (not until my review box is empty), but it does mean you're getting another short zine review today. Hopefully soon I will figure out a way to fit everything into my schedule.

The back page of this zine says that it shouldn't be taken "too seriously" by women, but that men should reference it often. Each page inside features a type of woman, and a drawing of the woman with a speech balloon.

Most of the advice seems fairly sensible, but at the same time anyone who reads these things probably isn't going to end up with a girl who wears high heels every day and is a slave to makeup.

However, I must admit that I probably am the "over apologizing" type, and I think getting drunk is pretty cool, or at least fun sometimes. So boys beware! You should clearly stay away from me as I am, to the surprise of nobody, terrible girlfriend material.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Things I Wonder About but Don't Really Want to Know the Answers to

By Nomi Kane

This short zine features a number of drawings representing various things Kane has thought about, but doesn't really want to know the answer to. Just like the title says!

They're all pretty funny, and several of them are things I've thought of myself. (Especially "How long has this been in the fridge?".) There isn't a lot of room for Kane's art to really be seen, but what is there is attractive. I do wonder about the way she draws herself, always with the same sort of worried/sad look on her face. I hope she is more cheerful in real life!

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Halifax Urban Maple Sugaring Project

(Apologies for the less than stellar cover scan.)

By Mike and Juele

I'm pretty much guaranteed to give this zine a good review because I got to try some of the maple syrup that they made! Mmmmmmmm. Delicious!

The zine is made by some people who are all about bringing food production to people, through guerrilla gardening, urban farming, and similar projects. In this case they decided to tap a number of maple trees, collect the sap, and make maple syrup out of it! I guess I knew that maple syrup was made from tree sap (or maybe I didn't...), but it's kind of strange to think about it.

It turns out that making maple syrup is considerably easier than I would have expected. You can get up to four litres of sap from one tree in a single day! Of course, once you've gathered enough you have to build a fire and boil it down for hours on end, and the day these guys choose to do that on was pretty horrible weather wise. I guess if you have to be outside when it's raining, snowing, and windy, being gathered around a fire is probably one of the best places to be.

The zine was generally easy to read and follow, with illustrations showing the various tools and objects that they used at each step. I think it could have been a little better organized, but it's not a particularly long zine, so you can easily read it all before you start making maple syrup yourself.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Child of the Atom

By David Blandy and Inko

Just before I left the UK I happened upon an art gallery showing a kind of neat exhibition. It featured action figures, comic books, a video game, and several video pieces all about the creator, David Blandy. Not that Blandy created all the stuff himself, rather he had hired other people to draw the comics (and maybe make the other stuff?) based upon his ideas.

It was a kind of neat idea, and the reverse of the art pieces I've seen that try to take a fictional character and make them real.

This comic is about Hiroshima, and if you'll allow me a brief moment I will tell you about my time there, as at this point I don't think I'm ever going to make a zine about that trip. I visited Japan in 2007 after living and traveling around Asia for most of the previous two years. I did the normal geeky stuff in Japan: went to Harajuku, went to the science museum, went to the Ghibli museum, looked at the homeless people's cardboard dwellings, hitchhiked on buses of old people (okay, so maybe my trip wasn't always normal).

And then I got to Hiroshima, which in many ways was my favourite city in Japan. There was a rad tram system, the food was good, there were art galleries, the people were friendly, and it just seemed nice. Except that you never knew when you would turn the corner and uncover a memorial to the people that died because of the nuclear explosion.

I cried looking at the monuments and museums. I cried reading Barefoot Gen (a really good, if brutal, comic you should read) in a library. I cried because to so many people this was just another tourist attraction to be bussed to. I cried because I don't know how the war could have ended with less loss of life. I cried because I remembered how the Japanese had kept their prisoners of war in Sandakan a few months before. I cried when I saw the paper cranes.

All of this is to say that I don't really know how to review a comic like this. The wordless comic and images of Hiroshima conjure up a lot of memories for me, but I have no idea what someone who hasn't been to these places will take from it.

One thing that is interesting, and the reason Blandy created this comic, is that he and his family sort of feel they owe their lives to the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Blandy's grandfather was in a Japanese POW camp and believed that if the war hadn't ended the way it did, he wouldn't have survived. Which is something to think about at any rate.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

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